Processing Day Support Group ~ HELP us through the Emotions PLEASE!

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Sally Sunshine, Apr 14, 2013.

  1. jajeanpierre

    jajeanpierre Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Tonight I processed--oh, I don't like that word!--my first chicken. I've been putting it off and finding all kinds of excuses to avoid doing it. Well, early this evening my Dachshund forced the issue. With my husband in the back yard and me at the side dealing with the other chickens she went on a rampage among my bantam cockerels that were out in the yard`. Not a sound from her or the chickens! Did she hurt the three I had slated to be slaughtered first because they were so nasty and bit me???? No! She got my favorites, two I would be keeping!

    I found my favorite, an adorable frizzle Cochin on his back in the middle of the yard, not 15 yards from where my husband was working. The other Cochin frizzle was in a pile a few feet away. It looked like a war zone. I found one under the shed and my husband finally found the fourth with the dog trying to rip it apart. Not a sound from the chicken or the dog!

    The last one was badly hurt and it wasn't hard to just grab a knife and slit the throat but it wasn't easy like in the videos. Thankfully the chicken was a bit shocky to begin with, so it didn't suffer. I had a lot of trouble trying to slit the throat and dealing with the feathers--it was a Silkie with a lot of pin feathers. There was nowhere to slip the knife in between the feathers. I think it took a little longer time to bleed out because it was in shock from the attack, not because I hadn't cut the vein properly. I tried to cut off the head after it had died, but didn't have the right tools for that. The videos have them just slicing it off--just what kind of a knife do they use????

    It was dusk when I killed the chicken. Because this was an emergency, my husband was with me helping though the whole thing. After I killed the chicken, I went to attend the wounded and set them up in hospital cages. I probably should have just slaughtered them all, but I really like the two frizzles and the third Silkie.

    Why couldn't that dog have gone after the other three that I wanted to slaughter? They never even got hurt!

    After the wounded were taken care of, I went back to my dead chicken. I had already decided some time ago to skin the Silkies and had been watching videos on it. It wasn't as easy as the videos, of course. Silkies pose their own problems with all their fluff and feathered feet. I did think I did a good job cleaning it. I have read, watched videos and obsessed about this for so long, that I did most of it by memory.

    It wasn't as bad as I expected. I didn't notice much smell (I didn't scald them) but was prepared for it. Nothing came off or out as easily as in the videos, but I guess that's normal. It was difficult to get the entrails to come out and that took some fiddly work. I had a few fleeting moments of distress when I noticed how warm and alive the flesh and entrails felt. The chicken didn't struggle much when it died. I expected worse. Was that because it was in shock to begin with?

    My husband was beside me for the whole thing. He had told me long ago he wouldn't be able to help, but the situation being an emergency changed that. This was more an act of mercy rather than slaughter. He even went up to get one of my books to find out what to do with the esophagus--I just couldn't remember.

    It was a lot easier because there was no decision--the chicken was badly hurt and was slated for slaughter anyway. Trying to save the other three might not have been smart. I might end up with three dead chickens in the morning and end up throwing their bodies away. I just happen to like all three and want to keep them.

    I hope having done it once, I can do it again. We'll see.

    Cambertin, can you give me some suggestions on slaughtering Silkies?

    Thanks.
     
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  2. ronott1

    ronott1 Daily Digest Guru Premium Member Project Manager

    Wow!

    You handled this situation Beautifuly!
     
  3. Kassaundra

    Kassaundra Sonic screwdrivers are cool!

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    Henryetta
    Sorry for the circumstance that lead to your ordeal and that it was your favorites. I too have a doxy and that is exactly how I got my feet wet forced by my dog. We now have a second fence and as long as the chickens respect the fence they are fine, but he will still kill any that go over the fence into his yard. But he never tried to breach the fence to get them.

    It does get easier, I am able to do it w/o injury now w/o to much trouble. I skin to and to deal w/ the fluff I wet the bird right after beheading but before I start to skin, I add a little soap so the fluff will wet better.

    That problem w/ the knife and feathers I experienced too, so one of several reasons why I shoot now.

    The two skinning areas I find hard are right at the leg where the scales start and the last two wing segments, they just really take practice, I usually just cut the feathers off the second wing segment and cut the whole last segment entirely at the joint and toss w/ the skin and feathers.

    The warmth takes some getting used to for sure. I had one that was way dead, skinned and eviscerated and all and when I got the heart out it was still quivering, that took an extra glass of wine and break!!!!!

    Yes it didn't jerk b/c of the injury, the injured ones I have dispatched did not flop nearly as much as the healthy ones.
     
  4. jajeanpierre

    jajeanpierre Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I lost my favorite, the really sweet frizzled Cochin last night. My husband wanted to kill the dog. So did I. She is only here because I bred her and had been sold to a breeder who had won a tremendous amount with her and had gotten several really special litters. He likes to retire them for a good life after he has a few litters, so I took her back to retire her. She's 10 in November. I look forward to her end. I'm so mad at myself and her.

    It did jerk at the end, but not much. I thought probably because it was in shock.

    Still, an "easy" introduction to the process, in that there was no choice and there wasn't time to have second thoughts and doubt.
     
  5. Kassaundra

    Kassaundra Sonic screwdrivers are cool!

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    Henryetta
    A doxy can NEVER be trusted even in your presence the prey drive is just to high. I was sooo mad at mine too, especially when he got my favorite, but in the end I viewed it as my own fault. The dog is just being a dog I am the reasoning creature and I need to make a safe place for all my animal to be what they are.
     
  6. fisherlady

    fisherlady Overrun With Chickens

    [​IMG]

    So sorry it happened this way for you, but sounds like you handled it exceptionally well and can be proud of yourself for being prepared to do what needed done. I really feel that even folks who aren't planning to process their own birds really should learn how to do it anyway.... just for this type of situation. I am so glad your husband stuck it out with you and gave you support during this horrible evening.
     
  7. jajeanpierre

    jajeanpierre Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes, it was my fault. I had taken them (all four) out the front (the biggest part of the property) and was distracted when I collected some eggs. I had a head injury at the beginning of the year and since then I can get completely side tracked. I once forgot I was holding a cup and just dropped it when I got distracted. She snuck into my back yard where the small chickens are kept. My favorite didn't make it through the night. The second Cochin is in pretty rough shape, but not shocky like last night. He drank electrolytes. He had a few pecks of crumble, but I took it away. Birds' digestive tracts shut down when in shock, so I'm going to wait for a bowel movement before I offer him any feed. The other Silkie is doing well, so he has food. I have them in two small parrot cages beside each other outside under a big oak tree on fresh grass and covered up so they don't get any sun on them and feel safe. Their wounds are weeping a lot, but it might look worse than it is because they are slathered in Polysporin ointment.

    I am so upset about my favorite! I really, really liked his little soul.

    [​IMG]
     
  8. Chambertin

    Chambertin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My Coop
    I lost my favorites too. Its hard.
    This may sound cruel and odd to many people but I was extra angry it happend when I was gone and couldnt butcher them to at least close the circle of life.
    Would you rather be tossed in a garbage can or put to use nourishing those who loved you if you were a chicken?

    So in the end you did what must be done and you will have a chance to complete the circle of life.
    Nothing is ever as easy as it looks on youtube the first time you do it.
    Too many video makers forget that the people getting the most out of it are first timers. Those tips and tricks are great, but most people want to know the basics and what's happening at every step that becomes instinct to the experienced. When I get my new flock going I'll be sure to document things in detail. Probably start a blog of sorts.

    I have found if you keep a hand on the keel of the bird it flops around very little. If it happens to, then if you push the wings into the body and hold them it stops.
    Maybe that's why cones are so desirable?

    My guess is that at a certain point animals instinctively accept death.
    In way's it makes sense. If you fight too much then the predator will give up, which can be bad. You would be left with terrible wounds to die a slow and painful death, maybe not even be able to move just starving there. After the predator gains control it may be beneficial to accept fate compared to waiting for infection or starvation to finish you off.
    To us it sounds counter intuitive, but the animals have no doctors, hospitals or any other way to recover from a grievous injury and must fight hard to procreate. An injury of a certain degree is honestly worse than death.
    I think that may be why some people viev scars as extremely cool and that the tough hero guy is always scarred. Any animal that can survive a wound capable of giving a scar and still maintain a high rank is REALLY tough in the animal kingdom and our animal sides haven't lost that association.

    In this way finish them off is just as natural as anything so dont feel sad.
    You handled it really well.
    When I have roosters I like I always let one of them in with the girls, this way if anything bad happens I always have the next generation to make up for the loss.

    EDIT: Speaking of my flock, does anyone have any black skin or interesting looking chickens in or near Michigan?
    I've got to get things started again and my incubator is empty. I'll come get the hatching eggs or pay for shipping.
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2013
  9. jajeanpierre

    jajeanpierre Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Some animals get something called "capture myopathy." They go into shock and will drop before there are any injuries. Deer are notorious for that. You can drop a perfectly healthy deer just by throwing a towel on it. They'll die from lactic acid build up in all the muscles of the body. If they survive the initial collapse, they still might die weeks or months later from kidney damage.

    Do you have any tips on slaughtering Silkies. Their feathers don't lay in any direction, and I found actually getting through the feathers to the skin at the throat challenging. I still have to slaughter the three unharmed cockerels and maybe the one that is quite badly hurt. I think the little hurt Silkie is pretty (he's a actually a really horrible specimen for a Silkie, but a cute chicken) and I will keep the other Cochin if he survives because he is just so silly looking. He'll need a friend. The Cochin is at the bottom of the pecking order, so I think he'll be okay with another little cockerel he's been raised with.
     
  10. jajeanpierre

    jajeanpierre Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Had a good cry today over losing my favorite.

    When can I cook the little Silkie cockerel I processed last night? Suggestions? I skinned him rather than deal with scalding.

    Thanks.
     

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